Page last updated at 20:16 GMT, Thursday, 6 August 2009 21:16 UK

Who were the Great Train Robbers?

Great Train Robber Ronnie Biggs has been granted release from his prison sentence on compassionate grounds by Justice Secretary Jack Straw.

The 79-year-old is the best known of the robbers, but who were the other gang members and what happened to them?

Bruce Reynolds
In his 1995 memoirs, Reynolds said the robbery was a curse

The thief and antiques dealer masterminded the robbery which has become one of the most notorious in British criminal history.

Nicknamed "Napoleon", he first fled to Mexico on a false passport then later to Canada with his wife Angela and son Nick in tow.

In 1968, five years after the heist, Reynolds returned to England and was captured in Torquay and jailed for 25 years.

He was released in 1978 and lived alone, broke in a small flat off London's Edgware Road. He was jailed again in the 1980s for three years for dealing amphetamines.


The chief getaway driver, nicknamed "Weasel", left a crucial fingerprint at the gang's farm hideout and was eventually caught after a rooftop chase.

A silversmith and proficient racing driver, he planned to invest his share of the cash in new car technology.

After serving 12 years of a 30-year sentence, he sold silver at a market before moving to Spain.

In 1993 he was jailed again for six years for shooting his wife's father and hitting her with a pistol. He died soon after getting out of prison, aged 62.

Ronald "Buster" Edwards
Edwards was sentenced to 15 years

Perhaps best known as the subject of the 1988 film Buster, in which he was played by Phil Collins, Edwards is widely believed to have wielded the cosh used to hit train driver Jack Mills over the head.

The former boxer and club owner fled to Mexico after the robbery but gave himself up in 1966.

After serving nine years in jail, he became a familiar figure selling flowers outside London's Waterloo station. He was found hanged in a garage in 1994 at the age of 62.

Two wreaths in the shape of trains accompanied his funeral cortege.


A crooked solicitor, Field was used to make the arrangements to buy the the farm hideout used immediately after the robbery.

He was sentenced to 25 years in jail, but that term was later reduced to five. He died in a motorway crash in 1979.

Scene of the Great Train Robbery
Several of the gang were in the flower business

A bookie and self-confessed "heavy", it was Wisbey's role to frighten the train staff. He was sentenced to 30 years and released in 1976.

But he was jailed for another 10 years in 1989 for cocaine dealing and later ran a flower stall.

After his release he went to live in north London and suffered several strokes.


Nightclub boss Welch was sentenced to 30 years and released in 1976. He was later left crippled when an operation on his leg went wrong.

After jail he became a car dealer and gambler in the capital.


A hairdresser who was jailed for 30 years and released in 1975, Goody moved to Spain to run a bar.

Charlie Wilson
Wilson went on trial at Aylesbury Crown Court in 1964

Charles Frederick Wilson was the "treasurer" who gave each of the robbers their cut of the haul.

He was captured quickly and during his trial earned the nickname "the silent man" because he refused to say anything.

He was jailed for 30 years but escaped after just four months only to be captured again in Canada after four years on the run. He served another decade behind bars.

When he finally emerged from prison in 1978, he moved to Spain where he was shot and killed by a hitman on a bicycle in 1990.


A decorator known as "Big Jim", Hussey was sentenced to 30 years and released in 1975. After working on a market stall, he later opened a restaurant in Soho.

He was convicted of assault in 1981 and eight years later was jailed for seven years for a drug smuggling conspiracy with fellow train robber Wisbey.

The gang's hide-out
The gang's Buckinghamshire hide-out

The florist was arrested in Bournemouth after - unfortunately for him - renting a lock-up from a policeman's widow.

He was jailed for 20 years, reduced to 14 on appeal.

Following his release in 1971, he went back to the flower business and moved to the West Country.


The former Paratrooper was known as "quartermaster" for the robbery. He was caught in Kent after three years on the run and sentenced to 18 years. He was released in 1975 and moved to Sussex.


The engineer was arrested with Cordrey in possession of £141,000, charged with receiving stolen goods and jailed for 24 years, reduced to 14 on appeal.

Reynolds claimed Boal was not involved in the robbery and was "an innocent man". He died of cancer in jail in 1970.


A merchant seaman, Field was sentenced to 25 years, reduced to five. He was released from jail in 1967 and moved to north London.


A solicitor who was convicted of conspiring to pervert the course of justice. He was sentenced to three years and released in 1966. He went to live in Surrey.

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